Twin Peaks is a five-piece rock band with four vocalists from Chicago. It’s not a TV show that’s about to be revived later this month, nor is it a sports bar and restaurant with scantily clad waitresses. But the band name was rooted in one of the above.
“It’s based off of us never having seen the TV show,” said vocalist and bassist Jack Dolan. “I didn’t even know it was a restaurant until we started touring. We would play in places where people would say that they had them. [The name] came at the spur of the moment. We had a show one day and we needed a name. Someone said, ‘Twin Peaks would be cool,’ and we haven’t gotten hit with any copyright infringement yet, so it stuck.”
Their sound has evolved quite a bit over what has really just been four years of putting out records. In the earlier days, it had a garage vibe. But the new record — and perhaps more noticeably, the new live record, 2017’s Urbs in Horto — sounds like it was heavily influenced by the Rolling Stones. It’s not a comparison lost on the band; they cover the Stones’ “Dead Flowers” on the live album.
“’Dead Flowers’ was an homage to that,” said Dolan. “If everyone is saying how you sound like the Stones, why not play it? It’s a lot of fun live. Now that everyone knows we play it live, everyone anticipates it. It’s kind of getting young kids into the Stones.”
That evolution of sound came through age, sure, but it also came from better equipment. It came from being able to afford a to sound different.
“The first record sounds like it does because we did it in a basement,” said Dolan. “Upgrading to better studio situations and circumstances and becoming better songwriters at the same time; it becomes less sloppy and more like you’re trying to make a real record.”
Twin Peaks started playing in basements because of bands like the Black Lips from Atlanta. An entire generation of rock band now exists that were raised on bands like the Black Lips and figuring out that they could do it themselves on their computers with GarageBand. Not only does such a generation of rock band now exist, it’s been around long enough to release three studio albums and another live one.
“When we were starting out, we were listening to the Black Lips a lot,” said Dolan. “That’s always stuck around a bit. All those guys — Jay Reatard, Nobunny, Thee Oh Sees — that general group of garage rock was inspiring kids to play in bands and practice in basements. That was a major thing in the beginning.”
It’s also a new generation of rock band that doesn’t really have a lead vocalist, like Nashville’s Diarrhea Planet. So each song kind of works as a solo work, sold as a collaborative effort.
“We write the songs individually and whoever wrote it sings it,” Dolan said. “That’s about as simple as it gets. We’ll bring in a demo, but recently, we’ve been working from scratch with the new recordings.”
Maybe that’s what will have today’s teens practicing in basements to make the great records of the 2020s; when Twin Peaks are elder statesmen themselves.
Twin Peaks is at Saturn on Saturday, May 6. Chrome Pony and Post Animal open. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the show begins at 9 p.m. Tickets are $14. For more information, visit saturnbirmingham.com.